Sunday, May 19, 2013

#27 Scottish Export and Water Chemistry

Looking to balance my sour and hoppy beers of recent with something a bit dark and malty but not as dark as the banana stout I decided to try my hand at a Scottish Export ale.  While I have been taking water chemistry into account for a while now I did a full water profile for this beer adding minerals to my moderately soft water to reach a bit more complex character.

Update 6/9/13
Gravity down to 1.010, seems ready to bottle. Initial impression is sweet coffee character, more than I had expected from this small amoun of kiln coffee malt.

Had waited to post this hoping it would improve over time but it still seems a bit off. This is the second time I've had issues with Wyeast1728 Scottish Ale yeast. This may be coincidental, be a factor of the yeast strain which I'm particularly sensitive to or maybe due to fermentation temperatures. While it's hard to pin this beer's off flavor on a single characteristic (it reminds me a bit of both oxidation and autolysis without sticking out as either) the yeast or the malt (old pale chocolate malt and my first time using Franco-belges kiln coffee malt) seem the most likely suspects. I'm hoping some of this character will fade or  blend into the beer over time and this will become more drinkable.

Beer hasn't really improved with time but I decided to do a more complete tasting anyway.

In Grodz We Trust, #26 Tasting

About a month back I brewed my second smoked beer, a Gratzer (or Grodziskie in Polish) and American Wheat hybrid I call in Grodz we trust.  Classically using entirely or near entirely oak smoked wheat malt, Grodziskie has disappeared and made a bit of a resurgence with American craft versions popping up every now and then.  In my attempt I wanted only a slight bit of smokiness to blend in with a dry, dry hopped wheat beer base.

A- Pours a clear pretty yellow color which I chose to add the yeast to, giving a nice Hoegaarden like Wit color with constant carbonation bubble movement throughout.  Small head fades to a thin layer and leaves some lacing.

S- Similar to many of my other dry hopped beers as the Strisselspalt really shows up with light earth, spice, vegetal and fruity black currant aroma, just a touch of smoke mixed in.

T- The smoke takes center stage with a woody chargrilled character that is followed with earthy and spicy hops and a finish that is lightly bitter and still phenol smokey.

M- Very light, dry and thin with moderate carbonation.  This one is right where I was aiming for in terms of the mouthfeel.

O- This is a strange beer that is hard to pin down.  It's impossible for me to say how close it comes to a traditional Gratzer but I could see it being a popular beer among those who like smoked beers.  That said the moderate bitterness and hop aroma combined with the moderate smoke give a strange impression.  If I were to brew again I would likely cut the smoke in half to allow the hops to be more at the front or cut the smoke entirely and add more ginger to let the spice notes really play.  A drinkable, sessionable summer beer that will probably go great with grilling but certainly won't please most.